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Systematic Reviews: Health Sciences

A guide for those who want to do a Systematic Review search strategy mainly in the health sciences field.

Broadening Search Sensitivity

To broaden the search strategy to increase number of hits, follow as many of the below tips as applicable:

  • Use related terms (hypertension, antihypertensives…);
  • Use synonyms (cancer, tumor…), such as search Google for [term] synonyms;
  • Use multiple terms/different expressions for same concept (aged, old age…);
  • Use generic and brand names (tylenol, acetaminophen…);
  • Consider variations in punctuation (down’s, downs’…);
  • Consider term variation across different disciplines (bedsores, decubitus…);
  • Use acronyms (AIDS, CIDA…);
  • Consider American & British (paediatrics, pediatrics…);
  • Consider differences in terminology in different countries (SIDS, cot disease…)
  • Consider misspelling mistakes (prostrate cancer, myocardial infraction…)